A brutally honest review of the Royal Enfield Himalayan

sam2019

Well travelled
The guy says it all. Not enough ground clearance, not enough HP (although he seems kinda happy with the torque), too heavy. What he did not know in 2018 was long term reliability (good thing too) and he still comes to the conclusion that almost every other dual sports bike out there constructed 20 years ago is better in every respect. That leaves the price.
But then again, unless you do all the maintenance yourself and use ebay for spares its going to be an expensive experience on the long run.
In India its competition is either ugly and 35% more expensive (BMW) or none existent (import bikes are rare and super costly), so here it makes sense (its also 25% cheaper).
In the west - not so much. He is hoping for the 650 which in 2018 was still a viable option, however since then RE decided not to go that road and the 2020 edition is just more of the same with laughable improvements like a shorter side stand an off switch for ABS.
How hard would it have been to give that 410cc engine a bit more spice, like maybe arrive in 2020 engineering wise?
Or to adopt the 650s ByBre front brake (which is incredible) for the Himma?
Way to go Lal.
 

Wintrup

Well travelled
Location
Cumbria UK
Fair review, but the comparisons and focus on HP really miss the point. The Himalayan has it's own niche, in that it good enough in enough areas and has a certain character that I don't see in the competition. Other vaguely similar bikes I would look at are the Yamaha Serow and Kawaskai Super Sherpa, both have character and are fun. But if the Himalayan doesn't work out for me long term, meaning it proves too unreliable, I would sell it and get a Honda CB500X.
 

sam2019

Well travelled
I would sell it and get a Honda CB500X.
Granted, the Honda is likely a much better bike in every respect, maybe except looks as they also fall into the plastic trap with lots of sharp edges and square digital instruments.
But it is also more than double the price, so not really the same league.
In the west thats a viable option though if you can look past the looks. If you are not in your early 20s that bike will outlast you and possible legislation that will make all internal combustion engines illegal 😆

Honda CB500X
, Estimated Price 5.00 lakh, Launch Date 2020, Images, Mileage, Specs @ ZigWheels.
 

Wintrup

Well travelled
Location
Cumbria UK
Granted, the Honda is likely a much better bike in every respect, maybe except looks as they also fall into the plastic trap with lots of sharp edges and square digital instruments.
But it is also more than double the price, so not really the same league.
In the west thats a viable option though if you can look past the looks. If you are not in your early 20s that bike will outlast you and possible legislation that will make all internal combustion engines illegal 😆
Yeah, I've said many times I detest the plastics on Japanese bikes. The Himalayan appealed to me for this reason. I don't buy new bikes, so if I bought a CB500X I'd be looking at a used one for £3-4k. I hope it never has to happen though and the Himalayan proves to be a keeper.
 

Rick C

Finally made it
Location
Somerset U K
Your last word is key. Keep a bike more than a few years and the RE will be far cheaper to look after if you do it yourself. Hondas are great bikes but are getting harder to service and repairs are expensive, they don't make them like they did in the 90s, that's why I keep my VFR750. Even this has too much plastic but the rest is spot on.
 

Roy Gavin

Well travelled
Wish I never sold my 93 VFR 750 P .
Bought it for $US 3000 when it was 10 years old with 23000 km om the clock.
Put another 110,000 km on it in ten years, mainly interstate runs to see the family. Nothing but consumables.
And a REG/REC , after I left the lights on and bump started it.
Main problem was that it's zone of comfort was 130/140 km and you has to concentrate to stay below that, in a country with a blanket 110 km limit.
Paid around the same for my Hima , two years old with 11,000 km, put another 12,000 km in around 5 months, all on back lanes and tracks with usually a 80 km limit.
IMHO that test just misses the point - the bike was never designed to be used solely the way it was tested, by someone who seems to want to big note himself as much as inform others about the bike
Is is an all rounder which does most things reasonably well, and much better than you would expect at the price.
And well enough for an old duffer like me!
 

Rick C

Finally made it
Location
Somerset U K
I agree, I ride the VFR a lot less these days, although in the past we have toured Ireland, France and Spain on one. I have owned 5 and sold my FM last year with 66,000 miles on. I want to keep my FR as it has a bigger tank, so less time wasted filling up, and I doubt I will buy an 800 as the finish is not as good.
My 650 Interceptor is a different ride, and I am glad to say I enjoy the relaxed way it produces just enough power to have fun, without, as you point out, having to maintain high speed for comfort. The other thing here in the UK is the poor condition of our roads just do not encourage fast riding.
 

Eatmore Mudd

Moderator
Staff member
I agree, I ride the VFR a lot less these days, although in the past we have toured Ireland, France and Spain on one. I have owned 5 and sold my FM last year with 66,000 miles on. I want to keep my FR as it has a bigger tank, so less time wasted filling up, and I doubt I will buy an 800 as the finish is not as good.
My 650 Interceptor is a different ride, and I am glad to say I enjoy the relaxed way it produces just enough power to have fun, without, as you point out, having to maintain high speed for comfort. The other thing here in the UK is the poor condition of our roads just do not encourage fast riding.
BINGO !!

One thing we forget or didn't know over on my side of the pond is the roads. The AWESOME Britt bike handling we love ( once we taste it ) was the engineers answer to rider demands due to the quaint narrow lanes and road surface condition in pre war and post war GB. They were similar in most of the US of A until the mid 1970s That handling sold well here. Most folks now can't imagine what life and riding was like before the modern freeway system and all tarmac roads came about. I thank God that our UK cousins kept "Britt bike handling" in the DNA of their culture and identity as a nation of riders so the rest of the world could re discover it.
 

Roy Gavin

Well travelled
Here in Mediterranean South Australia we are remarkably free of freeways outside suburbia , only about 40 miles to get the interstate to Melbourne out of the Adelaide hills and over the river Murray.
Adelaide is almost a strip city, between the coast and Adelaide Hills, so virtually everyone is within three or four miles of the superb canyon roads, lanes and tracks in the hills and ranges.
Plenty of these are unsealed, for those who prefer that, and there are plenty where a 100 km top speed is more than enough. For a old duffer, at least!
We have 1 1/2 million people in a state the size of Europe so mid week you can go a couple of days before you have to overtake a car!
So we still need good handling bikes - road maintenance is no better here than anywhere else - and there are plenty of old Guzzi's , Ducati's BSA's and Triumphs on parade on a Sunday morning, among the new superbikes and classic Japs , it sometimes looks like every Kawasaki Z 1000 ever sold gets pulled out on a good weekend!
 

TN_twowheeladdict

Well travelled
Location
Tennessee
The problem with the review is that it is based on going as fast as you can on single track trails. If I were riding single track trails I would be on a WR250 or my old KLX250S.

I consider the Himalayan the gentlemen's off road bike. Something to use to explore and enjoy at a sane pace. Nothing about it says race bike. I find it comfortable and enjoyable to ride which is why I ride.
 

Pirate

Well travelled
Location
Aldershot, UK
To qualify my comments, I am a newbie rider and the Himalayan is my first bike (so I have no comparisons to make). Whenever I talk about my bike to other riders, I always say how much I love it (and I do!) but that it isn't the bike for everybody. I am slightly built, so didn't want anything too heavy to handle. I'm new to biking so won't be trying to go fast at everything therefore speed and power is not an issue, except... I bought a 'bike so I could get to France quicker, cheaper and easier than a car. I live less than an hour from Portsmouth and wanted to get to Brittany to visit family regularly, so no great distances but the odd hour or so at 70-80mph is required. The roads in the UK are pretty crap most of the time, so something that can go off-road means that it can handle pretty much any surface the Local Authorities deign to 'maintain'. So all in all, the Himalayan ticks my boxes and for a touch over £4K was an absolute bargain. Not for everyone but it suits me fine.
 

TN_twowheeladdict

Well travelled
Location
Tennessee
To qualify my comments, I am a newbie rider and the Himalayan is my first bike (so I have no comparisons to make). Whenever I talk about my bike to other riders, I always say how much I love it (and I do!) but that it isn't the bike for everybody. I am slightly built, so didn't want anything too heavy to handle. I'm new to biking so won't be trying to go fast at everything therefore speed and power is not an issue, except... I bought a 'bike so I could get to France quicker, cheaper and easier than a car. I live less than an hour from Portsmouth and wanted to get to Brittany to visit family regularly, so no great distances but the odd hour or so at 70-80mph is required. The roads in the UK are pretty crap most of the time, so something that can go off-road means that it can handle pretty much any surface the Local Authorities deign to 'maintain'. So all in all, the Himalayan ticks my boxes and for a touch over £4K was an absolute bargain. Not for everyone but it suits me fine.
The Himalayan is my 25th or so bike. I've had heavier, lighter, more powerful, and less powerful. What you say can be said about any bike. I find the Himalayan to be a good "bang for the buck" motorcycle.
 

Solera

Getting there...
Location
A.C.T Australia
I consider the Himalayan the gentlemen's off road bike. Something to use to explore and enjoy at a sane pace. Nothing about it says race bike. I find it comfortable and enjoyable to ride which is why I ride.
Totally agree.

Sometimes I get the feeling some may still be trying to justify the Himalayan's existence, or why they bought one.
I bought one because it looked cool and there was something about it that said, "lets ride, anywhere, I don't care, but I set pace".
The Himalayan has no peers in my opinion, it seems to defy being pigeonholed. . It is in a niche of its own. It is neither road bike nor dirt bike, it just is. And that's fine by me. A bike has to be fun to ride. If it is I can more easily forgive foibles and questionable design decisions.

Since it seems to get mentioned in regards to the Himma, I also have a new model CB500X. Great bike, uber reliable, but I find it a beige motorcycle, it has no "soul". I was going to go the full rally raid route with it. Which would have cost 60% of the purchase price, and it still would have no soul. So I went looking for something that spoke to me.
 

Eatmore Mudd

Moderator
Staff member
Totally agree.

Sometimes I get the feeling some may still be trying to justify the Himalayan's existence, or why they bought one.
I bought one because it looked cool and there was something about it that said, "lets ride, anywhere, I don't care, but I set pace".
The Himalayan has no peers in my opinion, it seems to defy being pigeonholed. . It is in a niche of its own. It is neither road bike nor dirt bike, it just is. And that's fine by me. A bike has to be fun to ride. If it is I can more easily forgive foibles and questionable design decisions.

Since it seems to get mentioned in regards to the Himma, I also have a new model CB500X. Great bike, uber reliable, but I find it a beige motorcycle, it has no "soul". I was going to go the full rally raid route with it. Which would have cost 60% of the purchase price, and it still would have no soul. So I went looking for something that spoke to me.
I reckon everything else is a niche bike because they're specialized or optimized to do that thing they do. Sport bikes ( niche ) are great in twisties and on the track but suck on two track dirt trails and long hauls. Cruisers ( niche ) are great for all day on pavement but suck the sport bikes exhaust on road course track day. Freeway tour bikes ( niche ) are great for pounding down insane mileage but suck the dodge/ parry/ thrust/ pirouette of big city traffic. Dual Sports ( niche ) do what they do but all day at 70 on the super slab is just not their thing.

BTW Honda is actually a Japanese word for " without soul ". Source:
 

HaveACuppaTea

Getting there...
Location
Scotland
Everyone has their own reasons for buying whatever bike they do. Obviously the Himalayan isn't the right bike for the reviewer. Doesn't mean his opinion holds for everyone else!

For me, aside from the fact that I don't enjoy the aesthetic of modern 'transformers robot insect' looking bikes, which the Himi thankfully avoids, one of the main attractions was the simplicity. It's an air cooled single. That brings both its benefits, and its drawbacks. But if the benefits are in your favour, like they are mine, then it's all good.

In its niche, I haven't seen a great deal of competition for the Himi from other new bikes. For me the other front runners were the Honda CRF250 and the BMW GS 310. The Honda was too off-road biased, the Beemer too road biased, neither have the simplicity and both cost more. I've only got 500 miles up on my bike, and it is the slowest road bike I have owned, but so far I couldn't be happier with my choice. But obviously my opinion doesn't hold for everyone else either! ;)
The old adage still applies, you pays yer money...........
 
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